By Eileen Fritsch
For the May/June issue of LexJet’s Great Output magazine, I interviewed Catherine Hall, the extremely talented and personable young photographer who operates Catherine Hall Studios in New York and the San Francisco Bay area. I wanted to find out more about some of the ideas she discussed during her outstanding presentation on Modern-Day Marketing Methods at the 2009 WPPI Conference.
The conference classroom in which Catherine Hall spoke was packed with photographers under the age of 30 who were just starting out. Many of them had never attended a national photography conference before. But there’s a strong possibility that many of the photographers in the room had already seen some of Hall’s images in photo-industry publications such as Rangefinder, PDN, American Photo, and Camera Arts or in the Epson booth at the WPPI Show. Many of the aspiring young photographers seemed eager to learn how someone close to their own age had already achieved such an extraordinary level of success and national recognition.
After gathering the details I needed for the marketing article, I told Catherine that I was happy to see that she actively promoted the importance of in-studio printing during her WPPI presentation. It is the same message that the enthusiastic digital-photography team at LexJet has been promoting ever since Epson introduced their first generation of Stylus Pro printers with UltraChrome pigment inks.
Catherine said she agreed with my perception that newcomers to the wedding and portrait photography business are being encouraged to let labs do all of their printing work for them so they can concentrate on shooting more images. While this advice might make sense in some scenarios, photographers who open their own studios and aspire to sell to more upscale clients probably need to know how to print more of their images themselves. She said that being able to control your vision from capture to final product can help set apart from the pack in a very competitive business.
Hall believes that knowing how to print is crucial to being able to present clients with her best work. She uses the Epson Stylus Pro 3800 in her studio for all prints bigger than 5 x 7. She especially likes using Epson Exhibition Fiber Paper so she can craft wedding prints that her clients immediately recognize as something distinctive.
Although Catherine agrees studios will always need to outsource some functions, printing shouldn’t automatically be one of them. “Sometimes when you get something back from the lab, you see things you wish you had done a little differently,” she told me. “And sometimes, when you print an 11 x 14, you’ll notice things you didn’t see on monitor. Having a printer in your studio lets you fix these things immediately.”
Hall was quick to point out that she would much rather do work that she is consistently proud of rather than simply shooting bunches of lesser-quality images. She says printing images herself gives her ultimate control over how her artistic vision will be rendered: “There is no way to compare something I print for myself to what I get when I allow someone else to print my work.”
If you’re interested in learning more about how to print high-quality images that will dazzle your customers, call one of the helpful account specialists or technical support people on LexJet’s digital-photography team. If you call during regular business hours, you will always reach a live person who can answer questions about inkjet photo printing, whether you use an Epson, Canon, or HP printer.
If you weren’t able to see Catherine Hall’s outstanding presentation at WPPI, you can read many of the tips she presented in her Self-Promotion Resource Guide for photography professionals. It includes practical information on entering print competitions; publishing a blog; e-mail marketing; writing and submitting press releases; writing you bio; and social networking. The guide also includes a list of all of the major photography competitions and advice for contacting all of the editors at the top bridal magazines. To order the guide, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to read the Great Output article that summarizes Catherine’s excellent advice for aspiring professional photographers who want to jump-start their careers. This two-page article is a part of a larger story that examines how professional photographers are refining their marketing strategies to reach new generations of customers.